All You Need to Know About Orthodontic Surgery or Surgical Orthodontics

orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment through braces and aligners can solve most issues related to crooked or misaligned teeth. However, a patient might need to undergo surgery for some complex cases like severe malocclusion or incorrect bite. It is more relevant for cases where the malocclusion causes speech difficulty, chewing inability, or jawbone abnormalities. Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Who needs orthognathic surgery?

Orthodontists suggest orthognathic surgery to adults suffering from severe jaw misalignment, especially when the upper and lower jaws are out of proportion and do not fit well. Jawbone abnormalities can affect biting, chewing, speaking, and the facial appearance of a person. Genetics and injury due to accidents are some of the reasons causing jawbone abnormalities. The orthodontist evaluates the structure of the jaws, teeth, and gums, and based on the severity of the malocclusion, he/she suggests the need for surgery. Only adults whose jaws have permanently stopped growing can undergo orthognathic surgery.  

How does it work?

Based on the diagnosis, the orthodontist works with a licensed oral and maxillofacial surgeon to go ahead with the surgery. However, orthognathic surgery works in tandem with regular orthodontic treatment. The teeth alignment is first corrected through braces or aligners before the surgery. The follow-up treatment includes wearing braces or clear aligners for a few months, as suggested by the surgeon. It is then followed by wearing retainers to keep the teeth from shifting back to their original position. Based on the complexity of the case, the surgery could take a few hours and a recovery period of at least a couple of weeks.

Benefits of orthodontic surgery

Misaligned teeth and abnormally structured jawbones lead to functional disadvantages, affect appearance, and can impact self-confidence. Adults whose jaws have stopped growing have no other option to correct the shape of their jawbones other than surgery. It helps in fixing speech disabilities, facilitating better chewing, and correcting misaligned bites. The most rewarding outcome of orthodontic surgery is, of course, a healthy and beautiful smile that boosts the patient’s confidence. The surgery is effective in pain reduction caused due to facial joint disorders and helps deal with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Whether one needs orthognathic surgery or not can only be decided after a thorough check-up and evaluation by an orthodontist. To know more about the surgery and find out whether you need to undergo the procedure, book an appointment with your orthodontist at the earliest.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805731/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805727/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28538022/